CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

Astros’ Tuesday: Cuts loom, players vie and who is Jason Martin?


The first cuts loom for many teams this week and Houston will begin to pare down from its 60 players in camp. With only a few spots open for debate on the 40-man and the ultimate 25-man, the urgency is ratcheting up for some players already. Long shots and even some bubble players may be headed for minor league camp as early as Thursday or Friday.

Jake Marisnick is spending most of the time in a center field audition and joins Marwin Gonzalez, Robbie Grossman and Jon Singleton with the most ABs (10) in the early going. Gonzalez would seem like a cinch to earn a roster spot, but remember, he was the final arbitration eligible player to settle and the team does have other options for bench roles.

What to watch for the next few days.

  • Continue to see who get the ABs. And, where they play.
  • The first cuts. Previously identified “long shots” may be among the first to go: Nolan Fontana, Colin Moran, Matt Duffy, Jordan Jankowski. Don’t be surprised if a bubble guy like James Hoyt, Sam Deduno or Jake Buchanan are also included in the mix.
  • Manager A.J. Hinch‘s lineups. You should get a sense soon of which players may be lining up to hit in which spots soon. Jose Altuve may be a foregone conclusion, but the bigger question may be who hits third, fourth and fifth, though that could be somewhat interchangeable over the first month of the season.
  • Injuries to other teams. While the Yu Darvish injury may not result in a trade with the Astros, other teams who experience similar losses may come calling on Houston’s surplus of outfielders or upside bench/role players.

Observations and thoughts.

  • Should it be surprising that this big inning, home run heavy team has only one stolen base thus far in the spring?
  • A trade seems almost inevitable, especially with an abundance of infield type bench role players and an overflow of third, fourth and fifth outfielders.
  • Singleton still remains the key to the spring. With him on the roster, players like Grossman, Alex Presley or L.J. Hoes are expendable, either headed to Fresno or to the waiver wire.
  • Who is Jason Martin? He’s a 19-year-old eighth round draft choice from 2013 and he seemed to just “show up” on the 40-man roster. Nothing in the transactions for the past seven months.
  • Said earlier that one of the preseason battles would be between Singleton and Marisnick. The assumption was that only one might win a spot on the roster, but what happens if both make the roster? Who is squeezed out?
  • Roberto Hernandez may have the inside track over Dan Straily for the #5 spot only because he has an opt out clause if he’s not on the roster five days before the season starts. Not to mention that Straily has options. Hernandez in the #5 with Straily starting in Fresno provides Houston the most depth. Unless, of course, Hernandez becomes a trade chip.
  • If the Astros are to make a trade, Hernandez and Gonzalez may have value to other teams.
Advertisements

About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

32 comments on “Astros’ Tuesday: Cuts loom, players vie and who is Jason Martin?

  1. 1oldpro
    March 10, 2015

    Jason Martin is a young outfielder in the lower minors, who some think might make a jump this year like Brett Phillips did last year. That must be an error in the 40-man list because there are 41 players listed there. I counted twice to make sure.

    Like

  2. 1oldpro
    March 10, 2015

    If Grossman keeps playing the way he has been, he’s going to make this team or someone else’s team, no matter what Singleton does. He’s been the best hitter on the team so far this spring and is proving to be a major league hitter. Let’s face it, if he turns into a hitter, as well as an OBP guy, he slides into the leadoff, moves Altuve into the #2 slot, where he belongs, and sets the table for the bombers.
    It’s not like Grossman has to suddenly create a spot for himself, because he’s made this team the last two years and may be blossoming into what Steven has foreseen.
    I’ll say one other thing, what he has done so far this spring he has done starting and leading off, which means he has been facing the other team’s best pitchers more than any other Astros’ player has. I’m impressed.

    Like

    • Devin_
      March 10, 2015

      He probably saw Dexter Fowler’s contract and said, “hey, I can do all that!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Steven
      March 10, 2015

      I don’t think he has the tools to be Dexter Fowler. I will say that if he hits .270 he will have a .350+ OBP, and if you can get that, with 15 SB and 10 HR from the leadoff spot, you have a fine LFer for minimum salary, allowing you to concentrate in other areas. He isn’t a star, never will be, I don’t think the motor on his fan gets the bat into the strikezone often enough with enough authority, but I do see a durable player that can be a top 10% OBP guy.

      Way too early though. I don’t like Marisnick’s wiring, I am not sure it’s fast enough to to tell a ball from a strike often enough to get a lot of at bats and be successful, but his motor is stronger. He has more bat speed than Grossman, and should post better averages if their contact rates stay the same – he should have an edge on BABIP given similar luck factors. I see one as a .260 guy with a .350 OBP, I see the other as a .275 guy with .320 OBP. I think it comes down to what you need – and if that need is LF, give me the .350 OBP.

      Like

      • Tim
        March 10, 2015

        This is where we differ Steven. If given those numbers I will take the exceptional defender. Now, if JFSF has an OBP near or below .300 then give me RG.

        Like

      • Devin_
        March 10, 2015

        For 500 plate appearances, the difference between .350 OBP and .320 is getting on base 15 more times. I might lean defense as the tie breaker there. However, I think JFSF is more like a .300 or lower OBP when it all settles.

        Like

      • Steven
        March 10, 2015

        For LF, give me the offensive guy. For RF or CF, I’ll take the defender, especially if we are talking Marisnick, who maybe one of the 10 best defensive OF’ers in the league at the moment.

        Like

      • Steven
        March 10, 2015

        And I agree with Devin, after I typed it out, I thought about it, and I do believe Marisnick would land closer to .300. The league average last year I believe was .313, and I expect that he would be below league average.

        Like

      • Tim
        March 10, 2015

        Of course, I am not sure RG lands near .350 with his OBP either. If he hits around .235 with a .315 OBP and Marisnick is around .300 then I go with the better defender. However, if RG is .330 or above on OBP and Marisnick is around .300 then I go with RG. It will be interesting as I think Marisnick also has a bit more power than RG, thus he will probably have a higher slugging percentage and this would improve his OPS.

        Like

      • Steven
        March 11, 2015

        Unfortunately when they are writing out their lineup, Hinch has no choice but to guess what the guy will do.

        If Grossman is at .235 after a month, Hinch will have to trust his instinct. Does he feel RG is swinging well and the ball isn’t finding spots? Does he think he is scuffling and not squaring on the ball? If it’s A, I would keep playing him. If it’s B, you make a switch.

        Grossman has a higher ceiling than Marisnick solely as a hitter. I agree that Marisnick hits the ball a smidgen harder, it’s what I meant about motor in his fan, the guy is 6’4 and 225, he has the physical tools. I say Grossman has a higher ceiling because he is better at telling a ball from a strike earlier in the pitch, just like Youkolis always had a higher ceiling than a Chris Johnson, despite the fact that CJ has more bat speed. It’s not always who is the biggest, strongest, fastest – the very point Beane was trying to make in moneyball. If they both see 3500 pitches, one is going to swing at literally 350 more pitches out of the strike zone than the other. That will be impactful in all sorts of ways. Now Marisnick’s motor will make up for some of that, as he will hit less soft grounders, and harder grounders, for example, and that will give him a few more seeing eye grounders, increasing his BABIP. Despite that though the overall effect will be seen in walks and on base.

        Now I’ve said before, there are two components to OPS – OBP and SLG. If Marisnick’s motor starts to trend to 25 homerun power, and he makes up for that low OBP with extra bases when he does hit it, I would rather go with Marisnick, or find a way to go with both and have RG in front of Marisnick in the lineup. I just don’t see that right now, but he has the physical tools to make that happen in the future.

        Rare are the players that do both well – Springer does. It’s why I might be disappointed with Singleton so far, but I am not ready to give up on a guy that has the potential, through what has been demonstrated pitch selection, to post both a .450 SLG while walking 10% of the time – but he needs to show steps now, not in 2017.

        Like

  3. Larry Leach
    March 10, 2015

    I’ll be at the game in Viera Friday against the Nationals. It will be interesting to see who the Astros send over to play that day. I expect some like Moran, Fontana will play that day and be gone to the Minor League field Saturday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan P
    March 10, 2015

    – Lack of stolen bases…Not too surprising, SBs are not valued that high in the modern sabermatic world (unless you never get caught), there is no one really going to make this team on speed alone and maybe they don’t want guys getting hurt….
    – A trade seems almost inevitable – So even though we are overloaded elsewhere like OF – Luhnow decides to trade another young starting pitcher (just kidding I hope).
    – Singleton as the key – Yeah – with the Gattis / Carter / Singleton semi-log jam you have to wonder where this will end up and who gets sent down, let go or traded between those 3 and the overage at OF.
    – Who is Jason Martin? I’m betting he’s a young guy with a hacker friend and his hacker friend got him on the 40 man and now a printscreen of him on the 40 man will be on his facebook page……
    – Singleton vs. Marisnick – If they both make it – Grossman and Presley get squeezed out? Or Carter gets traded???
    – Roberto Hernandez vs. Straily for the #5 spot – I guess I have an additional question – what if Peacock is ready one month into the season – is he trade fodder or does he get his 5th spot back after some rehab?
    If the Astros are to make a trade – You would think they could trade from OF surplus or one of these veteran #5’s or even Marwin G. But what would they be trading for? More backup catchers? I guess they could try and trade for prospect pitching help but they would need bigger chips going out for that.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 10, 2015

      I would think they might trade for a mid 20’s pitching prospect in AAA that their FO team is jumping up and down screaming his name over and over to Jeff.

      Like

  5. Steven
    March 10, 2015

    Not surprised by the SB number. I will be surprised if this team gets 50 non-Altuve SB’s this year.

    I also don’t think our extra OF’ers or IF’ers are attractive to other teams unless they fill a niche need. We are fans of JFSF and MarGo, but we know what they do to help, other teams see MarGo as a typical limited range, decent glove middle infielder that can play 3 positions and hit for a passable average. Not sure of a return. I could see Villar getting moved as a 23 year old with tools that hasn’t put it together yet.

    If Grossman continues to hit, they will have a quandry. Gattis got a start in LF, but the Astros probably think like most teams do – you dont know what that knee is going to do on start number 15 in a 17 game, 20 day homestand. It’s the wear and tear of day after day that will get him, and you won’t know what that is coming out of ST since he will be protected in starts and innings in LF. Presley has the contract in hand, I believe Crane isn’t into giving away free money, so Luhnow gave Presley that money because he expects him to be here. Marisnick is the perfect anti-Rasmus, giving him days off against lefties and providing you great defensive tools at all 3. Singleton still remains the key. Life gets much easier if Gattis is a full time DH and Carter is at 1B. Trading Carter should still be in the works, but I don’t know if it is. We know this – someone in that list isn’t going to be here on opening day. I’m guessing Hoes has little chance. I have no idea who is going to get squeezed out, but whoever it is will provide plenty of fodder for our debate club.

    Remind me of who Martin is in 2018. Right now he just looks like we reacquired J.B. Shuck.

    Hate to sound Bopert-y, but Roberto Hernandez probably had a better chance of making the roster if it was more like 1.3 and not 2.3. Given the Astros recent lowballing on players – see Aiken and Vogelsong – the pattern tells me they are more than willling to enter into precontracts with guys and attempt to change the terms. They probably wanted to see if they could get a bargain basement deal on a one time 19 game winner – but aren’t going to pay 2.3 mil if they feel like he is what he has been in recent history. I don’t see them keeping him, giving him that opt out, unless he is lights out in ST. Straily might be the better pitcher right now anyway, and a lot cheaper. Management just seems more interested in how to save 2.3 mil than they are in having depth. Just my take.

    Like

    • Tim
      March 10, 2015

      If Marisnick is an everyday player I can see the non-Altuve’s getting 50 SBs. Springer and Marisnick may combine for 35-40 by themselves. If Marsinick isn’t playing everyday then I would agree with you.

      Like

      • BrianT
        March 10, 2015

        I was about to say the same thing myself, Tim.

        Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      March 10, 2015

      The Astros had a problem with Vogelsong’s physical. They can’t say anything but he admitted that things got “weird” after they lowered their offer after reviewing the medicals.
      The Hernandez contract was to reward him if he just turns out to be terrific. If he isn’t terrific they make a decision and he gets to move on if he gets cut. It makes him produce right now, or he’s not going to make the team. It’s not a gamble on their part, but on his.

      Like

      • Steven
        March 11, 2015

        Thats twice with the Astros doing that in last 12 months. I’ve not heard of another franchise in the major leagues doing it in that same period. Maybe it doesn’t make rounds outside of their respective markets. Maybe it isn’t happening anywhere else. I have heard of players failing physicals and such, but never a physical “changing” the offer. I find it ridiculous, either the guy passes, or he fails. I love analytics too, but Luhnow isn’t only applying them to baseball, he is now in the risk adversement/cost analysis business, and he is losing players (and their agents, who represent more than just that one player).

        If Vogelsong pitches 160 innings this year at 4 ERA ball, and is at, near, or slightly over .500, and you could have had that for 4 mil in your 4 spot in the rotation, he will have cost us more than that as fans. I got it neither side is discussing it (or maybe not even allowed too), but if they turned around and said we think you are a risk because of this, this and this in your physical, and we are dropping our offer to 3 million, why would he accept? I don’t blame him for walking away from it. If they don’t find something they like, they should simply fail him on the physical and move on, not try and use every tear and every “discrepancy” they find as a reason to drop the offer. Afterall, no major leaguer is without their physical issues, its part of the process of being physically active 300 days a year.

        There are multiple professionals, or yet to be professionals, who are victims of the Astros negotiating strategies. I am beginning to lean towards the “in Luhnow I don’t trust” crowd.

        Like

  6. Kevin
    March 10, 2015

    Watching all the games so far besides all the first time invitees that I’m sure will be sent down to the minors, the one person that still looks like he doesn’t belong Becky – VILLAR

    Like

  7. Becky
    March 10, 2015

    Kevin–I’ve been waiting for you to give us your “eye” view of what’s been happening at these games! Right now looking at the guys who have been hitting, and hitting well are…..Singelton, Grossman, Springer, and the new guy who’s playing 3rd. (can’t spell his name)! My opinion only, but I don’t think Hoes, MattyD,
    *VILLAR* and Presley make the team. A stupid mistake for Luhnow to give Presley a million this winter. Now he has to figure out a way to trade him. Straily and Hernandez haven’t been in that many games to say which one stays.
    HOW ‘BOUT JOSH FIELDS FOLKS!!! Looking good so far!

    Like

  8. Kevin
    March 10, 2015

    Becky have to agree with you so far. Presley needs traded, Matty D and Hoes in Fresno with I guess Villar, The pitching overall has been solid, They guys I thought would hit, have. Like that new 3B Val- whatever. Grossman has shown up with a purpose for sure. Going to be battle to the end for the last 2 bench spots, 5th starter and the last spot in the pen, FUN STUFF!

    Like

    • Becky
      March 10, 2015

      Does Fields look as good as the radio guys say he does? MAN…..if that kid could just step up, he could (will be) an elite closer!! I’m green with envy……I wish I was there.:( 😦

      Like

  9. Tim
    March 11, 2015

    My boys and I are heading to Orlando on Monday. We will be attending the Astros /Nats game on March 20th, travel to Tampa for Astros/Yankees on March 21st and then back to Kissimmee for the Astros/Pirates on March 22nd. We will squeeze in some time at Disney World as well. I am really looking forward to our vacation. Spring Training baseball is one of my favorite things to do with my boys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin
      March 11, 2015

      Awesome TIm I wish I could do that. I was sort of hoping AAA would end up in Colorado Springs for a couple years. I could have went to a lot of game.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mr. Bill
    March 11, 2015

    Just saw that Evan Gattis hit his first home run of the Spring in today’s ‘B’ game. He hit it against one of the guys we traded for him – Andrew Thurman.

    Like

  11. Dan P
    March 11, 2015

    And folks is Valbuena really that tough a name? Wait a minute is it really Valbueno? Or Val Kilmer Buena? Or Valbuena Vista Social Club?
    I am so confused.

    Like

    • Becky
      March 11, 2015

      Not a tough name…..but one we rarely hear, and know nothing about.

      Like

      • Kevin
        March 11, 2015

        let come up with nick name for him

        Like

      • astrocolt45
        March 11, 2015

        My suggestion for his nickname would be “Valbopert.” O.K. maybe not.

        Like

  12. Mr. Bill
    March 11, 2015

    Possible Nicknames for Luis Valbueno:
    Matty’s Daddy?
    Loose Venezuelan?
    Rocky Balbueno?
    El Roque?
    El Rincon?

    Like

    • Becky
      March 11, 2015

      El Rogue………is a good one!

      Like

  13. Astros Fan
    September 19, 2016

    One day soon Jason Martin will be on the 40-man. The kid can rake!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on March 10, 2015 by in Astros.
Follow CHIPALATTA on WordPress.com

Our Team

%d bloggers like this: